Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Sad Songs/Make It Better/I Thought I'd be writing about 2015 (one)

The Beatles are on Spotify, and Pandora now.

I know this because of Caffe Vita, because of Eastern Cafe, because of passing strains in the mall, passing retail stores where very thin people feel like there's too much of them, even in the food court. 

I'm not complaining about The Beatles. . . especially when Yesterday comes on, which is largely recognized as one of the best, saddest, most heartbreaking but uplifting songs to exist. I get it. I'm just noticing that it feels like 1996 again, when the anthology and the "new" songs and Oasis were all over the radio and I enjoyed it all but felt disconnected from my generation. 12 year olds, 16 year olds getting really into The Who, often less for individual songs than the black and white footage of Mods. Were The Who better than whatever was on the radio at the time? Maybe, probably, doesn't matter.

Being so very suceptible to nostalgia, I guard myself against it. When I saw a whole generation sighing wistfully for something they didn't even experience, I couldn't help but roll my eyes-- I also "missed out" on swing dancing*, victorian chic, craft/scratch cocktail culture**, and many other things. Got a little into the Garage Rock Revival, but even then, the bands that felt like pastiche of older styles without any new voices tended to leave me cold; but then that's the point of revivals-- replicating, not making new.

So it's easy for me to steel myself against nostalgia to the point of cynicism. Ironic, considering that it's a lovely day, the songs are pleasant, (I really do love "Octopuses Garden"-- Ringo haters can bite it) but those sudden flashes of the "Free As A Bird" music video threw off my plans to start a semi-comprehensive and inevitably incomplete look back at 2015.
We'll see just how nostalgic I get about that.

*I realize some of these things were also just discoveries of fun activities, not necessarily nostalgia
**Or delicious drinks. Like the drinks, but you can keep the culture.

Monday, 21 December 2015


Rain always on the edge of snow and my instagram feed fills up with pictures of evergreens mounted with shiny baubles, LEDs strung on walls, by windows, outdoors. Your friend (back) from DC, posting pictures of the airports, families together after three, eight months, one, three, seven years. Adorable slippers and sweaters we're told are ugly. In the spots with food or drink for public consumption, surrounding choruses of "how've you beens?" and "oh my gosh LOOK AT YOU." A lot can change in a year, sometimes nothing does.

I am skipping the holiday party. The religious reasons for the season are one thing, the faith swell, the secular stop-and-breathe-in, some sort of great siblinghood of humanity. But the scheduled reality of the holiday season is a dedicated break for everyone with work seasons recognized by the Government as Regular. Say 7-10am to 4-7pm, five days a week, give or take a project here, three day weekend there. The holiday party is, was, and will always be scheduled on a Friday night, or maybe Saturday afternoon, depending if the hosts have children, how many hugs they want to give in one evening.

This is why, anymore, as a service industry worker, when people ask me about the Holidays, it's roughly the same for me as Friday afternoons when a well-meaning will say "so, looking forward to the weekend?" and I make a decision whether to say "yes, sure" or whether to say "actually, it's my Tuesday. I work tonight, tomorrow. . ." But that analogy assumes a direct, linear work week, when often, shifts are scattered in such a fashion that there's no functional end of week.

This extends far beyond food-and-drink workers; think also of the Nurses, Bus Drivers, Cops, Firemen, Grocery Store Employees, and many  more professions that are so necessary to society as to not be able to shut down for more than a day (I'd say the food/drink is a soft-necessity; there's an amount of emotional labor that bartenders take on during the holidays especially).  . .

It is a bit surreal to have the lights up around town, the constants of holiday greetings sincere and ironic on every feed, the cousins and friends in from out of town that, likely, I won't get to see, the entirety of Puget Sound rushing to relax, connect, get Meaningful during a handful of days, to walk in, and among it, but feel so solidly disconnected; like watching cars on the freeway from Jose Rizal Bridge, wondering if they'll get where they want in time.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Those Lights, Those Pipes.

Top floor of Vita, as the day transitions from natural to artificial light, and the destinations of commuter buses shine. Mukilteo. Lakewood. Ash Way Park and Ride. Detroit minimalism in the headphones, where you see the inorganic turning grass again. Flowers. Never been to Detroit, so it remains unsafe from romantic narratives. After a full press of e-mails, clicks and drags, work that doesn't feel like work, but feels so much heavier than


If I have to see another friend in the hospital I swear I'm going to

just go see them, what else can you do? Again again again. Everett. Federal Way. Mountlake Terrace. Atlanta bounces and bangs through the coffeeshop speakers. They've transitioned from day to night music, from coffee for business to coffee for necessity. Americanos are an all hour drink, eyes sleepy or engorged. Mouths dry from telling stories. In telling stories, in


concern I'm trying not to be a gossip. Trading others' troubles across platforms like handshake bribes at a party. Ways to make it to the invitation. Staying here with the mottled wood and metal pipes and architecture's dance between warmth and starkness. Outsidde keeps dimming. Fully artificial. The sky is so dark and these lights are so bright and the sky is so dark and these lights are so bright and the sky is so bright with: Tacoma Dome. Bothell. North Lynnwood.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The necessity of new satchels.

A day of meetings/meet-ups. This is more of a consistency post than anything, blog maintenance being not the strongest of my suits.

Got dressed when it was foggy out, and now I'm overlayered for late-September sun. The fall that never fully settles, just hits harder when it does. It's been sunny out long enough that a nice misting of rain is a comfort, like not being covered in a thin film of sweat once you step behind the bar. Thanks, five blocks from bus to workplace.

Upsides: writing this on new/old laptop. Suddenly, so many projects feel so much more possible, though I may grow to miss the time-crunch that library-internet provided.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Broadcast Coffee, Summer Day Date (Overheard) (rough)

Tables separation. Tindr date near the door. Hum of espresso. Pretending not to eavesdrop. Pretending to pretend not to eavesdrop. She is more attractive, objectively, than he is. This always encourages. I ate fishballs for dinner last night, and possibly will have grilled cheese this evening. These are the sorts of details people tend to omit. Or lead with. Who knows. This thing that everyone does, no one seems to know how to do. Dinner, movie, checking apps.

Now they are talking about housing prices. Each face drops, but they are new and do not have anecdotes that don't make them sound like they'd rather be home. A house in place for a price is
how much? My head starts to hurt. Neither likes this conversation. But they can't stop. The boredom oozes across and around the coffee shop. The decor seems somehow even more tasteful. The barista caresses his own beard in an effort to soothe himself. They keep talking. Really? That much for a room? Something about investments.

Other conversations wither and die. The boredom seeps out of the coffeeshop. Kills the trees in the park. Another building topples. Time, space, stop. I am slumped to my seat. No one will every make love again as long as the dry tongues of endless boredom and the fidget of anxious fingers.

A terror so mundane that nothing can stop it.

the original draft accelerated the level of absurdity of the situation, and in this version I tried to reign it in a bit, cutting lines like "Jesus goes back and un-dies for all our sins," just because that sort of goofing tends to be a well I go to a lot. But I'm not sure-- kinda miss that ramp up. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Candles (rough)

A circle of cops

Point guns at

A baby.

                                    This room, shadows.
                                    So many

Daylight not worth saving.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Always Be Closing (rough)

it was a movie I'd only seen GIFs of, but it's taught me a lot about the world, success, and how
success gets defined in captioned headbursts. I have coffee. I have steakknives.
I have a David Mamet T-shirt and a woody allen haircut and a
Shyamalan twist ending. We welcome these words when
accompanied by celebrity spit takes, because, as
the man constantly points out this is the world
 we live in now, and furthermore, why not? 

We are transcending transcendence.
It's cool, man.
In a TV show I've only heard the drop-lines from, very serious lessons about
being a bad ass. Its important to live life to the fullest, which means lots
of squinting, punching.
Think, think, think, shout. Repeat. 

In the twist ending I am revealed to be nothing more than a
scarecrow that was brought to life by a bolt of lightning
created by aliens who believe in Jesus. 

This will not happen for a while yet, so pay no attention to the straw that I trail behind me, 
the way that it's constantly catching fire. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Redesigned a million times before.

So between poeming, storying, laptop-not-having, and delaying inevitable "here's what's going on in my life I know I've neglected the blog but trust me you don't really want inside this head right now oh no that sounded way more ominous than I meant it to" post(s?) not much has gone on here in the last few months.

I've got plenty of things I want to write about for the Trains and Tall Buildings series, some of the aforementioned life updates, and a few more drafts of poems to throw at the wall and see if they stick. But the perfect is perpetually the enemy of the good, so here's a couple quickies--

I'm writing music reviews again.

I sent out the proofs to Alice Blue, and will have a new chapbook as part of the Shotgun Wedding Imprint of Alice Blue. It's called The Third Best of Possible Outcomes. I'm also re-drafting one I wrote last year (mainly in post-work whiskey-fueled sessions when my laptop worked) and trying to polish it up.

I'm ZAPPing again.

This all will be easier once I re-laptop, but as is, the gentle scent of metal, stale beer(!) and humanness surrounds me in the Seattle Public Library.

Some productivity jams:

later, but not much.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Treatise/Treaties (rough)

A treatise on spiced
pork shoulder, the correct
way for a sandwich to
fall apart:

in your hands, before biting.
dripping down Denny, spreading
lettuce with my gait, I am in
no hurry to get anywhere:

I am in a hurry to get 

Half recollected bounce back
of a Ludacris song. Wind chimes
in the city like phone
dings. A future child
mocks the tortured novelty
of ringtones:

Why would you- how could you-
possibly think that was

Down the hill and up again,
ten dollar street food, plastic
fork. Ten miles between trash

Clouds and heat disagree,
there is no truce in the weather,
there is no energy in this protein
there is no welcoming handshake
at my destination:

dirge, dirge, dirge.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Seagulls. (rough rough draft)

I couldnt figure out the best way to pick the seagulls up off the wharf. There was really no getting around that it was my job, and after the events of last night, someone would have to sweep up the feathers, the beaks, the whole bits of bird piled, sometimes four deep. But town custodian or no, I was more concerned about the price of hay.
The thatching on my escape raft was nearly finished, and I’d done all necessary sawing, cutting, welding. Even the sail was complete. But given that most cloth materials were in such short supply I figured hay would be the way to go for cushioning. After all, I’d be on the raft a while.

Then last night happened. Without a lot of warning- some warning, but not a lot- the skyfighters returned and just made an absolute mess of the waterfront. Even in the days of heavy industry it’d never looked this bad. Dead seagulls everywhere. Wharf rats crawling through the bodies, carrying away half-eaten bags of chips left by fleeing shoppers. One giant Styrofoam middle finger, the calling card of the skyfighters.

Still, I couldn’t buy hay anywhere, not on town custodian wages. And paid vacation was out of the question.

I woke up with a note stuck to my ceiling saying my services would be required for at least another two weeks to deal with the mess. I am surprised my bosses survived the melee, frankly. The plan had been that I’d get some hay, finish the raft and disappear. It was crucial to do this before the onset of winter, when all the ocean trash freezes into sharp icicles, that launch into the sky due to displacement. Only this stops the skyfighters, their metal bodies crashing into the same sea that they patrol, their “peacekeeper” badges glowing at sunset. This wasn’t a fight I wanted in the middle of. There were only so many layers of irony I wanted to process at once.

But now here I am, staring at a whole wharf full of bird corpses. If I leave now, they’ll just funnel regeneration funds into Employee Retention funds, and not only will they find me and drag me back, the whole of fucking Bayside will still be a trash mound I have to sweep over. Revitalization. Ha. 

The question is where to take the birds, and how. My bags aren’t meant for anything this heavy duty; I’ll probably need to petition the Society of Feral Cats for their services. I hate that. Joan at the desk is always so smug. “You thought we were a bad idea, but now look at you.” She’ll probably call Shirley at the Urban Goat Alliance and have a good laugh. It’s not that I despise the usefulness of animals, it’s just that there are way too many of these beauracracies and if we don’t have money to keep the schools open, how the hell do we keep three Fitness Gorillas? At least Danny Felds is nice. I wouldn’t want him out of a job. I’ll keep that in mind the next time a city employee satisfaction survey gets passed around. Why they have the “check box if ____ should be fired” box is beyond me. Afterall, Joan is still here, and why? But then, I suppose so am I, and after the whole mess on Rockefeller street, I shouldn’t be. Well, hopefully I won’t be for long. If I could just get my vacation time figured; they never search for those who don’t come back, only those who leave. 

Will you look at the sunset over scorched feathers. The society for unusual bar ornamentation would love these. I could use a smoothie.

So I guess I should find my brooms. If this doesn’t take too long, I’ll just use the hay from them on the raft. And maybe these feathers. They have to be good for something.

Monday, 4 May 2015

30/30! New Puffs!

Three kids in cat ears
dart across

Lights start high
end low.
We trail. . .

Minute splinters in the wood.
Stacked always

nearly ready

burnt out joints
on sidewalks

29/30! Thank Goodness You're An Expert at Crisis De-Escalation, Sally!

I miss the days when all my dread was existential.

The way the cable line splits the room in two does
more than any arbitrary corner could do. Lines of electrical
cracking across the entire wall, spitting sheetrock onto
the floor.

knowing nothing                                               but a button
                                                                          a trigger
and you, there, Sally
on the other line, for the talk down.

I miss the days when all my tap outs were
for for waterbreaks. No one sees those           vans on their

Matters of national importance.

icecream truck
The way the snipers show in windowsills.
The way the phone cuts in and out.
The way your voice and the way you
can twist "wait" into a million little
seconds, you make the russians
trust you

What I'm saying, is, I'm just glad you were
here. Who knows what new craters--

                                                            allow yourself the victory dance.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

28/30! There's Nothing Out There We'd Pay to See!

Riding back from from a river bar, the man across from me is covered in rats. They seem to be his pets, he's talking to them, or someone, about rocketpops. Every now and then a rat escapes and runs to the back of the bus, where the girl with two cats has to scramble to stop full on chaos. They both get off at the same stop. Maybe they're in love.

They rip out homes like picking scabs and scratch
their beards about the blood. They sell gas masks
and gas masks at the same stands, one for immediate
one just in case, and the whole town

turns out in zombie makeup.

The unfinished buildings look like bombed out parking lots built up instead of out. The phone-riders
and car-yellers alike are covered in a thin film of egg yolk. I've committed to swimming every where I go for a month, so I keep two fingers in a thermos of seawater. Who's to say if I'm lying or not? Who's to say?

When it rains, I don't have to keep my hands in the water. When I promised
to always be swimming, it was more an exhortation to the weather than
anything else.

They say it's a good view but
we're all washed out. Staring out a
high rise window at lights in the fog
like some kind of protagonist, but what kind?
hero or villain? Who's to say?

They ripped the playground out of the city center,
sent all the games to the dump. Now it's a shrine
to self importance and niche artforms. Look,
when the sun comes out there's a rainbow!

and I am still swimming, or lying.

27/30! Rocks and Swords!

Given the unrest, and the absence of justice, those removed from the situation
had nothing to do but tend to their swan gardens and write songs on their lutes
about the sunshine and pose for daughereotypes with portions of grilled pheasant.

In the common areas, the constables and squires rode through the crowd waving
swords, taking heads off here, heads off there, and filing with the magistrate
when their shiny armor was nicked or dented.

Given the absence of solutions, or willingness of those with swords to listen,
ever, to the unsworded whom they swore to protect, those removed from the
situation danced on tavern tables and bemoaned the lack of civility from
those whose relatives and lovers had been beheaded and land ceased.
'Cannot they desist from such raucous thronging? They're disturbing my
path to the teahouse! It really is such a pity.'

Given the givens, a long stream of blood, rows of gallows, minted indifference
and calls for calm from those in towers, the priests exhortations about heaven
struck as simple and reductive, but hell we could believe in.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

25/30! Gunmetal Grey!

of the options, black and grey
like a gun, the sales clerk said
seemed least likely to attract
attention or seem gaudy.

I can gaud it up myself with
stickers or dents. The entire
process, from plan cancellation
through code unlocking to
plan downloading

was three hours. the time
I'd planned to pay my healthcare bill,
see about some reimbursment.

but in an offwhite room
with a steady soundtrack of Stone Temple Pilots
where a ponytailed man compared
phones to weapons and used
"rugged" to describe protective cases
I realized the day I signed
this contract

was the first day of this month
I wouldn't be writing
a poem.

Friday, 24 April 2015

23/30! Time Lapse!

All your e-mails are timestamped 1 a.m. or later

Each sunrise comes and goes without you
hopefully, the post noon ritual
of coffee
sandwich for breakfast.

to catch up with visiting
relatives at 11 a.m. and they
think you a bit rougher
than you are

this is your six a.m.

Every night there comes a turning point
where it starts to feel like evening,
like the dark isn't

just mocking you for being up,
but all the possibilities of

Rode past in nightowl bus rides
the windows out to anything.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

4/22! Sims!

Down second, the sky is a video game. Pixeled buildings and drowning clouds. Odd bright angles. I keep swiping back to my blog post or article. Ducking out of downtown back to a video of a woman in high waisted jeans and a bra talking down to the camera. The camera. Me. The illusion is gone. The towers still lean and gleam, try to fall, try to stand and I'm here. The gorilla climbing the tri-squared blue-black sheen, the dome opens for lasers. I duck and weave past oncoming barrels, find myself in sniper sights from one of the lower housing complexes. I'm in no dodging and rolling condition, I'm in no fight or flight mode, I'm in no space for capitulation either. So the randomly placed swinging blades outside russell investments won't even catch my ear. The rockets firing from the edge of the smith tower miss and miss and miss and miss. My feet go blurry as I chug down tunnels, my arms fuzz in and out of focus when I'm in the light on third. There seems to be some sort of robot army assembling, and all I can do is keep trying to reset, get back to my videos, a pre-recorded one on one or something-- but now that my arms are guns there's not much to do; I never even got an instruction manual.

4/20! In Restructuring! 4/21! Escape From Green Lake!

In Restructuring
In remembering the brand name beer on the bar glass, there is a noticing of the dyed
hair of the woman with the corgi, taking in the grilled onions and burnt brat.
In taking bartenders advice, the whisper about plumbers crack on stools. In the
grains of the wood. In trying to describe an evergreen to a recently blinded
desert transplant who sings an old song not a minute too soon in an ally and a dark
warm minute. In restructuring life to re-include collections, of salts, of blinds, of who to
complain about to your landlord, who to complain about to your uncle. In retiring phrases
from you vocabulary upon return and holding judgement for a later date. In rewriting
a popular account of your failure as an adult. In stoping your self from fastdancing in
a slowdance bar.

Escape From Green Lake
I don't want to hear about your
I don't want to hear about your
new joggable
stroller or
the ways jogging
and yoga pants
work the same in

I just want to paddle my way off beaver island, where I've lived
off nuts and berries for the last ten years, occasionally impersonating
an emaciated sasquatch, and find my way to the concrete path
I got swept with babysitting
skaters, their clean smiles
and taught
thighs and
screaming eight year olds back into
the fray of failed body surfers
drunk fishermen
and ducks.

I wanted to get free
but like gilligan
there's no getting off
of this island.

Monday, 20 April 2015

19/30! Combustible Vole Statue Don't Work For Free!

I was worried about the inflammation of the vole statue as predicted by the geologists. It's not that difficult to imagine, how under current conditions the statues of certain animals would be more prone to combustion and inflammation than others. There's also the issue of flooding; one can only hope that the two such disasters would follow eachother; the theory is that they'd cancel eachother out, but I know the truth; everything would just be broken and soggy. In my worry I boarded a bus to the far end of the city and broke sticks in a 711 parking lot waiting for inspiration. The sculptures were all guarding inner neighborhoods, if the worst happened, these blocks would simply look better by comparison. That said, inspiration was not forthcoming and I started to wonder if my fascination with a post-apocalyptic structuralist reinterpretation of classic disney tropes had been a waste of my considerable sculpting and metal working skills. Nowadays, it doesn't seem so much like looks of comradery and appreciation on the faces of the City Shadow Council but. . .

they were laughing at me! And here I am riding secondhand waves of glory in third rate architectural magazines. All the columnists, all the council members, all the neighborhood activists can go fuck themself; I've got a hot tip from the meteorologists and this nine story owl statue at the edge of town will show them all.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

18/30! That's No Way To Cook Eggs, Sally!

splayed across the kitchen                    counter

we appreciate the whisk twirling dance
an spatula drumbeats                                         but
maybe the                          eggshell mountain was
a bit much and the frying pan through the window?

they could use  bit more salt is what we're saying, and thank you
and let's go quick

this isn't even
our house.

17/30! Fares (Fair?) Fares!

The mariners lost so
every jersey walking swagger
was denied entrance into bars.
the rest contemplating with
their shrines at home.
My grandmother was religious
about the Ms, also
religious. But wouldn't have
countenanced these instances of
"fucks" and "kill yourself dude"
from numbered, stumbling
players. Is that Griffey? I could
have sworn his number said so.

There is ice in my bones and
Rachel needs to piss. The 7/11
man shoes away the guy
who yells a little louder each
time for "just a five, man."
I already gave him three and need
the rest of my depleting ones for
a cab ride. Ludicrous, the four
jaunt, but cold, and weary
and what the hell. Arms full
of brown paper bags, feet

"You must live here" he says,
pulled up just past a trio
who have not left that corner
for three stop lights. Speculation
leads to judgement, leads to
crow. "this is it," i say, and he's
all "give me whatever you feel
comfortable with" and as I hand
him seven singles I realize
the meters never been turned

Thursday, 16 April 2015

16/30! Threshing Through The Timescale In a Mere Ten Minutes!

Buddy, let's be Dinosaurs, on the condition that you stop picking "chicken" or the types that never existed. The price we pay for laser eyes. Fine then, knights in a kingdom, in awesome tin helmets-- steel helmets-- produce carts were made for our knocking over, damsels, damsels everywhere! for saving! Okay fine, I'll see you your knight and raise you a Caveman, who's got the heavier club, who's got a knack for fire. Stop with the cave paintings already-- no one has the time for that. Good. Now we're spacement farrrr into the future and all these robots may know how to fly a space ship, but it'll take real flesh and blood to teach them about --- two minutes as rugged explorers and we're already sick of eating squirrel. cowboys? We can do that. Ropes and ropes and steers and guns and lots and lots of blood in the dirt. Did anyone ever walk into a saloon without a record skipping? Were the barmaids always so world weary and could you get a 9 gallon hat for che-- Jazz listening private eye guys! I love calling chicks dames! There are so many tall buildings, you can be the informant that-- Buddy, what's that disco? All there is to do here is dance, man, not even a dance off. And all these shining lights, getting so close to the things I muscle away from.

Still. I guess I could keep the suit.

14/30! Jokesandsighs! 15/30! Nu Diner Life!

A note from my manager that in the two days
without phone access I've been fired and
replaced by rookies or robots doesn't
surprise me much.

I crossed ts, dotted is, tacked posts
in necessary places and crossreferenced
plans in the hope of a getaway but these
are no match for wind, treachery, or just
bad luck.

This is a joke he's made before, and my
response is quick and jaunty, the parry,
but still, I start compiling a list of spots
to turn in the resume I start updating,
take my leftovers

15/30! Nu Diner Life!

Any new taxidermy must be approved:
first by the manager, then the health board.

Dinner party punk and post-washboard, pre-
beerbelly stomache in brief shirtlifts.

No sweat in the cosmos.
No beard in the food.

A planetary refrain from too-loud laughter,
save the blue corner table rattling all glass.

The waterfall in the center of the room-- unplanned.
What do we do about that?

13/30! Define "hurt" I guess, Or, Not "Those" Sorts of Cops!

and the hashtag starts almost as soon
as the news flips on, the #notallcops

the whatabout, whatabout-- my uncle, twenty years on the force never hurt anybody/your cousin, sweet kind, artistic, just out of training, never hurt anyone/folk's church friend, shines his badge while he volunteers, never hurt anybody/pool-playing neighbor assures on his Christmas card that he's
never hurt anybody/or

everyone so ready
with this list.
every morning I slap
some water on my face and
check for weather, concerts,
Swans scores, and how many fresh
excessive force casualties
always black, often men,
and if maybe this time
the killer gets caught

and I  walk up to every cop and:

Can you PLEASE JUST go through the entire day
without killing someone?

in my head. the whatabout-- the man just crossing the street, who never hurt anybody/the girl sleeping in her bed who never hurt anybody/ the kid buying a candy bar who never hurt anybody/the community pastor who never hurt anybody/the the

way this country will forgive you
quicker/if you're holding a gun
in crisped trousers/than if you
walk away.

every night, passing stoned
I get pulled over and flashlight shined.
but it's always over quick;
I'm always off with a warning.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

12/30! On The Nose!

Tips for successful tourism include: not being a tourist
not caring if people know you're one. I'd rather get directions
than wander lonely as a cloud, I'd rather sit in the spot
that everyone drawn here like flocking voles sits because
it's worth it, even if it's not secret, I'll get it.

Like how I tell folks to check out pike place if they haven't.
The things a city owns that belong to the world, and the
things that belong to the neighbors--- I am a local at my
locals, and running numbers everywhere else.

Or I am a local everywhere, but only trust my fellow
locals at the spots I've worn in with elbows.

It is hard to share joy without sounding like namedropping,
it is hard to namedrop without ruining joy. I will glide
across these pavements I've not known before,
I will take all the pictures I need

but I'll try not to be an asshole about it.

11/30! A Scene We'd Usually Avoid!

Neckerchiefs. Cologne. Muscle relaxers-with a scent/how?
The grease in the hair and the grease in the thighs and the
grease the guy in the misfits shirt managed while sliding into
his pants. The one girl/guy couple, hottest in their near shirtlessness
by the window, attribute traffic to that.

We think the doorman suspects.

These lines of traffic-- we've come blocks just to
not get in. We are wobbling hard toward a club with
the right backbeat, we only want a slice and don't
care where we get it from.

The new city stomp, the old city hesitate.
The happy lipstick party inviting only half
of us. The crowd churned down Polk street

flying elbows, jutting knees, too much scent,
too much dirt for any where we'd go if--

but get the cameras right and
all you need is the rest of the
room and all you need is one good
picture, to say I've been here, I've
swung my fists, this is everywhere
I've been adult but so much worse,


Saturday, 11 April 2015

10/30! Ashbury Heights!

"what's that flaming cathedral in the distance?"

this road winds like yarn. triangles and spirals and
houses clustered like apartments, apartments spread
like ramblers. Ropes around a narrowing hill.

When we talk about the city, we talk about The City.
Everything I know about this place I learned in
documentaries about Jefferson Airplane and
the film Basic Instinct. 

"you went to the mission and you got

a thick film of glass when we get over the
bridge from east bay, and the way that
everyone says "east bay" like a sentence,
after the show that starts awkward and ends
triumphant, the uber driver says "the city"

and the entrance feels like one
like it should, no long suburban
depression trailing into density,
too tired and building weary to

This is not a poem about
san francisco,
it's a poem about knowing nothing
about it, but the hill, the
sillhouettes at midnight after
Oakland ends for us. It's about the imprint,
the "in a few years will Seattle seem--"

the new space forever,
frozen pizza thawing, the smell of
burning pepperoni spilling out into
the bay.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

9/30! Going Cronenberg! Going Scott!

Give me an Existenz afterlife, so I can plug, unplug eternally.

That squirming, spirting tentacle, all ooze and grit and
eventually just wanting to be put down. Of course we want
masks here, of course.

I saw a TV show where people got their make up done,
piercings shrined and implants to look like cats, or dragons,
or the devil. They called it extreme, I call it trying too hard when

all anyone needs to do for assassination
is program a GPS in question into oncoming traffic
like that episode of The Office

we all laughed at for being

Give me a car crash orgasm, so I can sync with explosions.

Somewhere between the caveman and the
robot porn, there is
a caveman jerking off to robot porn.

I'm no expert on these things,
vast expanse of flesh,
and plugs, and re-routes.

Laying on my collapsed futon
late night, falling asleep to sirens,
waking up to jackhammers,
reading a friends panicked e-mail about
bill boards
more drones

I'm too entrenched in Blade Runner's LA; it was a lot of things,
but never boring.

8/30! Addison Dispatch #4!

That molson ice pile by 306 hasn't moved for two days. The dog in 312 won't shut up

but a markered note offers to shut the bitch up in exclamation points. Seriously on
behalf of us all
shut the bitch
up.                                                    (with wire, with cloroform, with a baseball bat)

Head into the glass walls, Shane remarks that the max income requirements 
(a refreshing change)
would be considered middle class
(I thought we'd disappeared!)
                                                       in another city. In another city, I wouldn't need the requirements. I am no cigar maven, flicking his ash out against a movie about new york. A skyline in highlights that silences family who don't understand; like a movie star swoop from one frame to the next, the smith, columbia, municipal, hey.

The man in the stairwell isn't moving. Isn't smiling. Is yelling. Is swaying. Is dancing. Can of hurricane ice-- must be a different guy. Howling, screaming, dancing, the lady behind me asks if she can tell him to get the fuck out of the way or is that racist. The man behind her shouts "racist nothing," falls dick forward, they both hit two walls before landing. I shrink into walls.

Hammers on the left side. Drills on the right. Sirens every day. Not our fault. Not theirs.
Stacking piles of earplugs. New eyemasks. Prop up the bed with old hymnals. Shut down the door
with strings of tape. 

The walls are thin when you're trying to sleep, thick when you need help--
(is that you,
I was hoping you were dead, cussing out 
                                                     your mother
one last time in your braindead half-drawl
as they drove you to a 
landfill where scum like you grows 

these heights bring out the best. Nod for a year at the lease-signer before
she remembers your name, 
(you are drunk, screaming down the hall
the fire alarm--
won't make up for no coats
or morning workouts--)

possibly for the best.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

7/30! Warlockerbeef!

Every headline is a kitten or a bombing.
A heartwarming story about a veteran
or a heartbreaking story about a veteran.
to stand in.

Passing the Economist  on the way to the Onion,
the best of a bad situation, the slight hope for
some kind of peace, which ideally--
seems such light
language for
such. . .

If I had the magic, I would have a time machine,
and if I had a time machine, I would have the influence,
and if I had the influence, I wouldn't need the magic
just what to say to who to when

next to the atrocity centerfold
is a coupon for five dollars
off ground beef.

Monday, 6 April 2015

6/30! Jesus Didn't Die for You to be a Beggar!

If you can't get down with redemption-- If you can't get down
with resurrection, if you can't heal with an egg or crack for
children's paint---

then tell me about the way fjords burn under pagan rituals.
tell me about the aurora borealis scattering sky to everyone
in gaping wonder.
Give me a shaking excuse for why your aunt just wants to
point and laugh, why your uncle shouts "praise jesus" every
eight minutes. We don't need church fans out on the street,
we don't need reinterpretation systems for our favorite
music, we don't need a swab down for job interviews,
though it probably won't hurt--

--a day is just when you are off
work and you trust the boss
the pastor
the savior
the entrepeneur
hand greasy with coupons,
opportunities. Parents always nudging.
may recognize
or shots/
or nothing

and a crammed up road, tell me about the
persons shaking their fist out the side of their
vehicle, blocking my bus

burning my skin,
but the warmth

keeping me from cussing them out

5/30! No One Wants to Watch You Fuck a Dog Tonight, Sally!


         . . . dude. . .

are we

talking about this


Sunday, 5 April 2015

4/30! Walk Happy Or Don't Walk At All!

The swagger. The shuffle. The near defeat crawl.
The slump. The skip. The swing out. The stomp.
The startled scare. The game loss drag. The short of a
run. The short of a dance. The short collapse.

The doorman wants your identity, your drink count,
your reason for not smiling. The doorman wants to know
why you are walking this way, will he have to deal with
you later, what (the fuck) is your problem.

The stagger. The swim. The sidewalk stain.
The swerve into traffic. The stereo bounce. The late
blink and you missed it, you're in the road now.

The doorman explains it's just his job, because it is.
Eight hours nine hours, twelve, means nothing
when you feet won't pick up the right way.

Elements of comfort, safe place, dependent
on thirty second explanations. You can let him
know, or you can let him know.

The slog. The trek. The amble. The gambol.

Friday, 3 April 2015

3/30! Tiger Crimes!

Don't call it pacing, don't call it a cage.

After what happened to the tabbies out on fifteenth.
After the disappeared ocelots started turning up
as rugs and lampshades. 
After few feral sentinels keeping columbia city's rats
in check laid bloody in rows by the condominium
penitentiary complex. 

Don't call it purring, don't call it a stage.

After the bobcats left town, tree by tree
and the Lion's roaring came half-hearted,
a show for the kids, but not running the show.
After Ms. Jonesbury's feline hostel 
burnt to the ground and all that was left
were stripes.

The cheetahs can't run any faster,
the jaguars cling to the tree limbs
of the arboretum like they're holding
onto their mothers.

Don't call it pacing, as you watch, 
don't call it burning, it's not as bright
as you think, or someone would've noticed.
Don't Kipling out on some essentialist trip,
this is just how the city goes now,
paws licking slowly, over the whole town.

Here kitty, kitty. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

2/30! The Knives Are So Sharp Because the Stakes Are So Low!

The Knives Are So Sharp Because the Stakes Are So Low

Terra cotta attack dogs/bomb(s in) every library.
the only thing we (have to) say regards legitimacy,
but you're carving down/(c/should
be) punching up.

brutalist watchtower/gatekeeper.
naturalist's flowering rebuttals.

I had a friend once, the novelist said, and we were surprised
enough at that to miss the rest of the anecdote.
I had an enemy once, the poet replied, and we gathered
by the campfire, sharpening up our tongs.

this is integral, the cannon's fire,
the statues raised/toppled/razed.

modernism and feral cats/atomic slushpiles.

This is no laughing matter. This is no simple grudge.
This is (g)war. You hear me?
Literally dozens of mid-level careers have potential
to be nominally effected by what we find in this rubble.

Georgian arches burnt crisp. A flag we wave,
passing (up/in/over) the halls of
crunched paper.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

all things return to the all things return to the poememe.

Lately in my new scratches, I find myself returning to the "all things return to the. . ." titling system that made up the second half of "Filthy Jerry's Guide to Parking Lots."  This is partly because it's a funny way to title pieces, and also because it's an effective way to title pieces. It might seem like a cheap hack to re-use a literary device ad-nausea but tell that to Marvin Bell or Shakespeare. Plus, if it gets me writing.

So, this is a draft of a newbie that may end up completely different, set somewhere else, but for now it's called All Things Return to the Chinatown Library Ten Minutes Before Close on a Weekday.

all the coughing in this library.

all the threadbare gloves.

every sniffle. as the sky goes purple
over the firs, the lights in here feel so bright.

a globe in the children's area.
a lego map of returning.

computers and computers and
"thank you for respecting others"

also means "please no obvious porn."

a woman with a face like a free paper
bag in a pikachu hat. cartoon merch
from a free bin.

all the standing, waiting for computers,
pretending to browse CDs, magazines,
hoping to check e-mail before 8pm.

after 8, there is no where to be for
free, no room connected, nowhere
to go where it's your public right to cough.

I don't know these things or need these
things for nothing, not as much, maybe, as
the man with the giant backpack full of knives

or something. I hesitate to guess what,
knowing I might be right, knowing I 
may know this room too well already.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Common Blindspot

Alright. So recent conversations (online and in person) have made it necessary to say the following: If you are a person of faith, raised in faith or even just searching, and you are involved in any -- any-- artistic pursuit, you spend your life either directly or indirectly dealing with hostility, mockery, or dismissal, often from people you otherwise largely agree with.
And you know what? A lot of the time it's fine, you can deal, some of the stuff that's said is legit funny, mainly accurate, or at least understandable.
If you're a person of faith in artistic circles, chances are you've dealt with your share of lumps from churches/etc. But running into it, seeing it on feeds, etc day in, day out takes a toll. I'm not talking about debate around specific issues, I'm talking about the lumpen trolling that isn't/wouldn't be tolerated around any other group of people-- the fat dumb idiots sorts of jokes/sayings-- that you just get used to. But every now and then, you have to say something. Forgive, sure. Forget, probably, there's too much not to. But that doesn't mean we won't every now and then call you out on it, and its a good idea to listen.

I posted this a few days ago to my facebook after an online kerfuffle that was ultimately resolved with a phone call. I promised a blog post unpacking that a bit more.

I'm going to start with a few caveats; there may be more in footnote form(the footnotes are denoted by asterisks, which reset after each five. because.) But here's what this post is not intending to do: 
1) This is not intended to portray myself or any other person of faith (any faith, though folks who deal with what I'm about to outline tend to come from more structured, "organized religions") as some sort of oppressed minority. This is not a post to elicit sympathy or to call people out, but rather to talk frankly about a recurring experience that is shared, rarely gets mentioned, and maybe help people understand what's ultimately problematic about it. Because if I don't say anything, I can't expect you to know.
2) This is not going to be a post comprehensively outlining my own beliefs, background, or experiences of belief. That information may be included for context, but it's not my intended focus.
3) This is not a piece about interactions of people of faith/spirituality with the non-spiritual in the world at large, or in the greater swath of american culture. That's a very different picture. What I'm dealing with in this post are the specifically artistic -- music, writing, visual art, dance, theater, etc. -- and many academic worlds, often (but not exclusively) within the context of large, left-leaning cities (Seattle, in my case) or fairly insular college towns.
4) This is not a "how to not offend your Christian/Mormon/Ex-Jehovah's Witness friend" post, though in the interest of being constructive, I may include one or two tips.
5) This post (and the author) has no interest in a compare/contrast around different types of belief, or being some sort of rebuttal to new atheism, or converting people, or decrying evils that have been done in various religions' names. There's a whole internet out there for that. 
6) This is not an apologetic piece.

Get through all that? Okay. Let's go!

This was triggered by a couple of specific online conversations* in which most of the participants were writing fairly offhanded comments about "religious people" that ranged from slightly insensitive to broadly cruel. The general sentiment (which a few were quick to prop up with studies) was that "religious people are stupid, ignorant, racist, fat, ugly, smelly, non-couch-leaving, sexist homophobes who don't know how to tie their own shoes."**

This is the sort of thing I hear, or read, or catch offhand in comments weekly, if not daily. At work, with my friends, on any number of sites I read, in the standup comedy of artists I enjoy, in the stage banter of bands I enjoy, in social media, in offhanded comments nestled into columns I otherwise largely agree with, everywhere.
My response used to be a very earnest: NO! We're not all like that! Let me tell you about ______ and their work on behalf of marriage equality! Let me explain to you what I specifically believe regarding ____ part of theology that you don't like, a lot of us are very nice, really!

And that's a conversation I'm still happy to have in person, if I really fucking have to, but I shouldn't have to, especially to people who know me. You should know I'm not That Guy, and you probably have a friend or several who also aren't that person, so how many exceptions does it take to rethink whether it's such a strong rule?

Another thing I find telling, discouraging, and disappointing is how the strawman of the "religious conservative"*** also tends to serve as a cipher for other prejudices. Sizeism, classism (SO MUCH CLASSISM), sexism, and racism all frequently find their way into "critiques" of religion, both by the classically liberal/progressive types and the more misanthropic followers of dawkins/hitchens/carlin.

"Yeah, but a lot/so many of you/them are that way that I'm not going to change my language because I hurt some church kid's feelings." I've heard and seen variations on this cry-me-a-river response a few times. Mainly when I was younger. Late 20s-early 30s I get a lot less of this, but it's still a sentiment that persists.

To it I would say two things: Take that statement and apply it to another group of people. Go on.  What does it give you? Secondly, even if this is your take, consider the following: In painting The Religious in such strokes, you help perpetuate the sort of ignorance you claim to be against. For every strawman, there is an equal strawman on the opposite side; it makes it easier for folks on that side to prop themselves up as persecuted, to perpetuate equally lazy stereotypes about Artists and City Liberals as baby-eating, wine-drinking, drug-taking, shallow hedonistic elitists**** who don't love their families and have no time for those less moneyed, hedonist, or educated than them.

Okay. Now, briefly, on to the much rarer, darker, more violent hyperbole I've seen throughout the years. Once again, not feeling like I should have to explain why a bumper sticker like "So Many Christians, So Few Lions"***** or friends in college saying "they* should all be rounded up and shot" is so fucked up, but here goes: there are parts of the world where that has occurred recently, and still occurs. More the shooting than the lions, but let's not limit people's creativity, hrmmm?
Beyond that it once agains mirrors the violence of language of the most dogmatic and cruel iterations of organized religions, and chances are you have at least one friend who is in this country specifically because their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents fled here specifically to escape being rounded up and shot.

Alright. Let's get less heavy now, and talk about some greyer areas.
First, as I alluded to earlier, if you are a person of faith who also arts, you've probably taken some lumps from the organized institutions. Sometimes the people making these generalizations are coming from a place of deep pain or trauma, and a good, uncensored vent is part of a healing process. If you weren't religious (or operated in a spiritual practice considered "fringe" by mainstream america) and grew up in a church-controlled town, county, or school, it's likely you had a rough go of it, and that knee-jerk urge is really understandable.
Conversely, if you grew up in an atheist household in a big city and had one, maybe two religious friends all growing up (if any) the whole concept can seem like an anachronism, one that's hard to take seriously. In this case, I suggest trying to relate to people of faith as a foreign culture; there's a lot you'll see on the news that is either outright misrepresentative or represents the most extreme/dogmatic examples.

That said, as many teachers, pastors, and my longsuffering parents know, I know a thing or two about not taking things seriously, and overvalue a smirk from time to time.

So. I like a joke I can laugh at myself. But let's do some fine-tuning: when you're talking about your personal experience you should/can say whatever you want. If you grew up around really toxic religiousity, it's totally fair to say "everyone in my town/family/school was. . ." But acknowledge that that is your personal experience, rather than a universal one. If someone counters with an example from their life that runs contrary to your experience, that doesn't invalidate your experience. But it might be useful to add to your perception when talking about a group of people as a whole.**
I'm also not angry when it comes to vents of frustration around a single issue, or set of issues where an religiously institutional take has dictated a lot of opinions.

In fact, much of the time even the harshest, most intellectually lazy takes can roll off my back with a quick eyeroll. But as the fact that I've written a sprawling, multi-take blog on this shows
1) I can't do this all the time. Both out of respect for myself, my family, and my friends-- both of faith and simply those who really should know better- I gotta say something.
2) Just because one or two of your friends are really cool with you making jokes that could be seen as at their expense, don't assume all of them who fall into whatever-the-category-in-question-are.

Likewise, to avoid being easily misunderstood, if you have involved, differing definitions between being "spiritual," "of faith," "religious," "a believer," and have a rant/vent or what-have-you, for the LOVE OF GOD*** do not assume people share these definitions. To a lot of people these terms are, if not interchangable, highly overlapping. Parsing the differences between these terms can also lead to really rewarding conversations.

One last thing to consider is the displacement factor: people who have left*** the faith they grew up in often find themselves in communities of their choosing, and surrounded by the sorts of language I've talked about above. Like I've mentioned, sometimes they get in on some of the jokes, sometimes they don't, but when the talk gets monolithic, violent and dismissive, it re-enforces the fact that just like they felt excluded, dismissed and rejected in their old communities, they can't be themselves, or express their full experiences in their new communities.
Just because your lapsed catholic friend is now a _____**** does not mean that they don't love their devout catholic granmother. Or that they don't retain some sort of internal struggle around their beliefs.

So to that end-- when someone you know does say something, listen. Don't interrupt with "well you know what I mean" or "I wasn't talking about. . ." They probably know. But that sort of backtracking serves only to block communication or serve as a very mild form of gaslighting. Your friend probably wanted today to be one day of their life when they didn't have to rationalize/justify away the ignorant and jerky blanket statements you just made about their old friends, family and past selves.

It gets old, you know?

*The specific conversations are beside the point by now, as it could have been one of any number of conversations I've been privy to over the last 18 years. I didn't link because I'm not trying to restart fights, and in fact the resulting conversations from it were good.
**hyperbolically overstating, but not by much.
***who embodies everything that is bad about people and nothing good.
****when frances bean cobain starts her absurdist literature appreciation society, this'll be on the t-shirts.
*****kinda ugh funny, in that quarter-jewish-comedian-who-makes-oven-jokes way.
*In this case we're not just talking about "faith" in general, but christianity, or mormonism, or if you're dealing with new atheists, they may include muslims and practicing jews, but lib/progressive set tends to be a little less monolithic.
** I'm also not angry when it comes to vents of frustration around a single issue, or set of issues where an religiously institutional take has dictated a lot of opinions. See: climate change, marriage equality, The War, reproductive health, welfare, etc.
*** intentional.
****or radically re-imagined, or don't like being associated with, or whatever.
***** fill in whatever you would describe to yourself or others as being "opposite of" catholocism/mormonism/etc. I had a couple, but kept bumping up against wanting to explain why such-and-such "shouldn't" be considered opposite of. . .

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Last in the Wake of the First (January)

A month goes by like apartment tornadoes. A month goes by like runner's high fives. A month
gets drawn like mountaintop selfies. A month gets told like childhood trophies. A
month regroups like a half-finished painter. A month relents like gnawing hyena.
A month goes by like the Kalakala. A month gets told like ferry efficiency in
bygone. A month goes by like cave bats. A month gets on in years by
the minute. A month gets on in piers by the sound. A month
gets told like final evictions. A month goes by like a
server with benedict. A month gets sold like
books of affirmations. A month goes by
like the last church chorus, shuffles its
books and starts again.

Friday, 2 January 2015


has started fine. the new year brings with it a blog-pressure to write! write! write! all! about! the things, but i have handily already done that. futurelists may happen in the future, which is happy to turn into the present at an alarming rate.